Konrad Hurrell rode the highs and lows of being an NRL star during an action-packed 2014, complete with a discipline-related axing, some of the season’s most spectacular individual efforts and an embarrassing off-field incident.
After returning from his post-World Cup break significantly overweight, the blockbusting centre was left out of the Warriors’ side for the opening two rounds by coach Matt Elliott.
He made a spectacular return, spearheading back-to-back wins over the Cowboys and Tigers as an impact weapon off the bench in Rounds 3 and 4, but was again sent back to NSW Cup for a week to finetune his attitude by caretaker coach Andrew McFadden after Elliott was sent packing.
The ‘Hurrellcane’ was unstoppable midseason, however, scoring eight tries in as many matches as the Warriors emerged as finals contenders. This purple patch was punctuated by a highly-publicised social media scandal when he reportedly filmed himself in a sexual act with a Kiwi soap starlet, which subsequently went viral.
His form tapered off towards the end of the season after a two-week injury absence and the Warriors flaked out of the top-eight race.
Undoubtedly one of the game’s most damaging ball-runners, Hurrell has added finesse to his game, combining superbly on the Warriors’ right edge with Sam Tomkins and Shaun Johnson, and becoming an excellent centre provider for young wingers Ngani Laumape and David Fusitua.
Maligned early in his career for his defensive deficiencies, Hurrell has also improved exponentially on the other side of the ball.
The wrecking ball came up with 12 tries in 19 games, taking his career tally to an outstanding 37 touchdowns in 56 appearances – blowing a kiss to his mum back in Tonga after each one.
Opting to play for Tonga at the 2013 World Cup, Hurrell pledged his allegiance to New Zealand this year but wrist surgery prevented almost certain selection in the Kiwis’ Four Nations squad.
Hurrell shapes as a trump card as the enigmatic Warriors attempt to end a four-year finals hiatus in 2015, with his exhilarating attacking skills one of the Auckland-based club’s foremost strengths.
Relive the 23-year-old’s many, many noteworthy highlights from the 2014 season in this explosive compilation: